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Build the Perfect Emcee

In hip-hop we just love making lists. Who's the best emcee of all time? Or right now? The most underrated? The best female emcee?

Most of these lists are flawed because we are looking at an artist's skills too narrowly. There are many ingredients that need to come together to make a top tier rapper. When we rank a great storyteller over a great punchline emcee we are really just saying that we enjoy a good story song over one that makes us laugh. So if that's what we keep falling into with these endless lists, why don't we just rank emcees by category and call it a day? Or in other words "Build the Perfect Emcee!"

So that's what I'm going to do. And I'm excited about it. Though not by myself. Making my own list is fun, but I probably care the least about what I think. I really want to find out what others out there are into. Specifically, I most want to hear from the opinionated people people I listed on the front page of my weblog under the title "Hip-hop Blogs."

This is how I'm going to make all that happen.

1. Nominations- for ideas I am posting the categories on two message boards.

2. Judges- I am sending out an invitation to about a dozen hip-hop bloggers who's opinions I respect (but not nessisarily agree with). I want them to help me build a combined "official" list and they can feel free to post their personal rankings on their own websites.

3. Final list- I think I'll post the final list on the neutral RMHH forum or Blogcritics. I'll discuss this with the judges.

So...let me know what you think. This idea is still baking and your suggestions are appreciated. Here are the categories:

Build The Perfect Emcee

A. Talent

guest appearances

B. Personality

business sense
good to fans

C. Extra Curriculars

live show

Also, feel free to copy and paste these categories on your favorite hip-hop message board and vote amongst yourselves.

November 13, 2003 in Top Emcees Project | Link Me | Related Searches | Related Music

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I think it is funny how the lists are almost always fall into the category of either superstars or underground emcees. My belief is that emcees are largely judged by their relationship with the media, rather some universal notion of artistic skill or insight.

In other words, it has more to do with your presentation than your lyrics or vocal delivery. How does one begin to compare Jay-Z and Aesop Rock? Yet they are at the top of many lists, though rarely at the top of the same list.

But the bottom line is that fascist "Best of lists" only highlight the fact that people want to see everything in the paradigm of competition.

I wonder if rock fans are obsessed with making the same sorts of lists. I don't remember arguing with friends over whether the Sex Pistols were better than the Clash, or if Black Sabbath was better than Led Zeppelin.

What say the jury?

Posted by: eric at Nov 14, 2003 8:09:12 PM

Eric: I have seen a bunch of bloggers have lists of the top 10 rock albums so this is not consistent to only hip-hop albums.
Madison: I like this idea because due to the categories you have assigned it is almost quantifiable than the usual best emcee discussions people have. Do you plan on ranking the emcee's by the major categories above or the subcomponents?

Posted by: Cal Ulmann at Nov 16, 2003 3:46:50 PM

But is it phrased like "This is MY top 10 list" or is it like "These ARE the best."

There is a subtle difference. But I was a rock fan for years and I don't remember any hero worship on the scale of, say, Rakim or Biggie or Tupac. And if you compare the death of Kurt Cobain to either of those two, I think you can see some differences.


Posted by: eric at Nov 16, 2003 4:39:44 PM